What do YOU think?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by SCTeachInTX, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    You want to hear something crazy? I was talking to a friend of mine who has a son in college in Germany. The tuition is $100.00 a semester for medical school! And that same friend is sending her daughter to school for journalism in Vienna. Her daughter's tuition is $16.50. The cost of housing is about $500.00 per month.

    What is WRONG with the American system that we charge SO MUCH for an education? It makes getting an education unattainable for so many! Many people are so in debt when they get out of school, and STILL can not find employment. What are we doing that is so wrong?

    Of course, I know these systems track kids (like we don't) and they do not allow lower level kids to go to college. But should lower level kids go to college? Are they prepared for the challenges? Instead they are tracked into a trade. Is that so bad? I don't know... what are your thoughts???
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    My son spent last summer in an internship position in Germany. He is seriously looking into several Masters programs in Europe--it would cost less for the entire program than it would for one semester here.

    I don't know much about the American system, but do know that Canadian costs have been steadily increasing the past several years. When you factor in residence, meals and textbooks, costs average about $17 000/year for most undergrad programs. It certainly makes overseas very attractive for many reasons.
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I know that at least in Austria, the colleges and universities are funded mostly by something similar to our tax system. So it may not be that much drastically cheaper if you live in the area because you are paying for it one way or another.
     
  5. kimberlyalice

    kimberlyalice Rookie

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    I wonder if either of those schools have online courses or distance learning?! I'd like to get my Masters, but I am still paying for my BA.
     
  6. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    I hate the thought of limiting the opportunities for any student and that what tracking means to me. I guess tracking is not that bad as long as it's very flexible and students can transfer and move to higher level classes if wanted.

    I also know that if a student didn't have a good year or had a bad teacher where his/her academic performance wasn't that good, does that mean that the chances of going to college are gone forever?

    What about the equality in education. A poor/low income student may not recieve the best education due to lack of resources, not good schools, etc. but that doesn't mean the student is not capable of going to college. This student just won't be as prepared but it won't be his/her fault.
     
  7. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    This past spring I got a chance to talk to few teachers from Milan, Italy and they told us that their public education is free up to college level. They also don't pay much for health care or in most cases they don't pay much at all. One of them had the cancer treatment for his mom completely covered by the government.

    On the other hand, they also mentioned that they pay about 40% in taxes. At first I thought I heard wrong, but I'm pretty sure that's what he said.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    There is no free ride. The idea that people 'don't pay' for education and other services is bunk...there is a socialist influence in the politics of many countries that affect the differences cited here.
     
  9. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    People pay for it, just in a different manner. They pay higher taxes for their entire lives to fund the higher education that they or their children may never end up using. So, if you tally the tax over a life time of a working family, I bet they do get charged quite a bit and many people that don't directly benefit pay for it.

    It is a great scenario when you are on the receiving end (get a lot for little to nothing) but not so much when you are on the giving end (paying for an education that will never happen for you or your family unless you are intellectually able and inclined toward higher education fields).

    Remember, nothing in life is free (or cheap for that matter). There is always a payment or consequence - intended or not.
     
  10. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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  11. Barbera

    Barbera Companion

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    Too many people are going to college that should not be. A lot of these people think if they have a college degree a corporation should exist to employ them.

    Skilled labor that can't be sent to a 3rd world country will be where the jobs are.

    People should persue what they are interested in but be aware of their limitations.

    I know this will make some people mad, but a liberal arts education will not neccesarily translate into work place competency.
     
  12. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    I understand and agree with what you have to say to a point. BUT, we track in America. We track our honors kids, our AP kids, and our advanced kids. Yes, there are more opportunities for kids to go to college IF they can afford it, BUT does every student need to go to college when the drop out rate is so overwhelming and those that do graduate are usually in the college system longer than the required 4 years for one reason or another. Afterwards, there is great debt and a promise of a job that is not panning out for some. I don't know. Think about it. I just wonder about our system. And I do know that educating your children can be drastically cheaper overseas... at least in Germany and Austria. Something to look into? I don't know. Of course the language barrier will stop many. But the business program in Austria is taught in English because it is the universal language of business. It is just something to ponder.
     
  13. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Oh I agree. THEY get your money somewhere. But for American students that want an education but cannot afford it, or leave college with astronomical debt, this is something to think about. Of course, the language barrier is the biggest factor here.
     
  14. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    So are you saying American kids who can't afford college here should go overseas?
     
  15. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    I also don't believe that every student MUST go to college. Some kids are doing all that they can just to graduate from high school. Why did we stop the trade schools that were part of the high school education for those kids not interested in college careers. We NEED mechanics, beauticians, etc. There are so many people that we need to run our stores, our businesses, our restaurants, etc. Why are we not HELPING students with an interest and desire in this area? What happened to having these mini courses in the high school? If nothing else, we learned to cook, sew, change a tire, etc. to help ourselves in the event that we needed to hem a pair of pants, or cook a dinner for 5.
     
  16. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    What do you mean in terms of help?
    There are still excellent trade schools...many of those trades have become very technological though, so it's still important to focus on those STEM kinds of classes for most students in high school.
    There are grants, tuition assistance and loans available to trade school students.
     
  17. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Well, if the language barrier were not a factor, and the college/university was reputable... I guess that could be an option?

    Is that my suggestion? Not really, I would HATE having my own children THAT far from home. But that is probably me being selfish, and concerned about the adjustment (and safety) without the help of family and friends. But I guess, (like for my friend) if your child had an interest, the required language, and a desire, it would be a viable option.

    My friend is very different. She has 4 children. Three of the kids were born outside of the U.S. because her husband is in big business and they relocate every 3-5 years. My friend speaks 5 languages. One child was born in Mexico, one in France, and one in Holland. She has one child that was born in the U.S.. She thinks more globally than I do. She sees the world as her home and not her country or state. Currently her son is going to school in Germany. Her daughter is going to school in Austria. Her two younger children are in an international school in France. The family lives in France at this time. Who knows where they will be in 4 years, but her husband's business is slowing down so it looks like the travel and moves have slowed down or stopped.

    I guess, I am just bringing up a point. Not saying that our kids should be shipped overseas. Just saying... we need to be rethinking our educational system. It should be affordable for ALL if we are telling ALL students that they have to get a college degree to be successful in life.
     
  18. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    We used to have shop class in school. We used to teach sewing. We used have technical skills incorporated into the high school curriculum. Slowly those things disappeared. I suppose that was because of budget cuts. These course were taken by every kind of student. Kids knew how to change the oil in their cars, check the tire pressure, and could sew a simple hem. Now, you are right. There are tech schools. But for many kids going there is the walk of shame. And that is the real shame of it.
     
  19. Barbera

    Barbera Companion

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    By the context I would say she is refferring to the fact that many students are urged to go to college for the sake of going to college but are rarely made aware of these other options and some of the occupational type classes that used to exist in high school have been eliminated.
     
  20. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    I am certainly not suggesting anything for anyone. I am just asking questions...
     
  21. Barbera

    Barbera Companion

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    Well put. :thumb:
     
  22. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Take a look at the tax rates in a lot of those nations. They're paying for those schools, whether their kids are enrolled there or not.
     
  23. teach'ntx

    teach'ntx Comrade

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    When my SIL was stationed in Germany, they put their school age children in the local German schools. They track the students in 4th grade. About 1/3 of the students are put on the University track. Most of the German friends they had were paying for tutors for their children to make sure they would make the cut and stay in it. They had two other tracks that led to different types of trade schools. If a students is not tracked for University it is very difficult/close to impossible to get them into a University as they are missing most the core classes.
    The thing I found interesting was their school day ended at 1:00 on the late days. However, all students had homework and completed their homework. It was a very interesting process they had.
     
  24. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    I agree that practical classes should be offered in high school. Like home economics for example. Many students don't know how credit cards or financing work. I would also certainly have loved to learn how to change a tire for sure.

    Even though some of these classes are not offered at high schools, they're offered at community colleges and many are actually taking these classes. Those that don't graduate high school though can't go to community colleges.
     
  25. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think of some of the wonderful high school kids I've taught, who didn't hit their stride until they turned 16 or 17. And I'm very happy with a system that allows these kids to be whatever they want to be, regardless of where in life they decide to get serious about school.
     
  26. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    Wow! :eek: 4th grade? So if a very smart student had a bad year before 3rd or 4th grade, like the death in the family for example, and performs poorly academically his chances of going to a university are eliminated? See, that's what I don't like about this. There should be trade schools and university oriented schools and students should be given the chance to be enrolled in anything they want as long as they keep up with the academic requirements.

    In my home country you can start taking classes for trade jobs starting in middle school. When I was in middle school we had to choose from auto mechanics, secretary, and clothes making classes. We still took all the other classes but two times a week we had to take our tracked classes. I chose secretary classes and actually learned shorthand, it was cool. However, I could still choose to go to any high school I wanted as long as I passed the entrance exam. For some schools it was more difficult than for others.

    I can also see how the education in our country aims at giving everybody a chance to go to college and in the process college classes are being dumbed down in order to accommodate many that can't handle the rigorous work of real college. By offering a tracking system in high school not all could qualify to go to college and this could mean that colleges can get more selective.

    I can also see how colleges who accommodate and accept students regardless of ACT scores or high school grades are benefiting financially as they can still charge a lot of money and easily issue a degree.
     
  27. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    :agreed:
     
  28. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    When the reality is, many of those in the trades make more money than some of those who have a degree.
     
  29. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    That's true. I know some paralegals make a lot of money and mechanics, plumbers, and electricitians must make more than us because every time we need them we get a very high bill. Our last plumber charged about $200 for a two hour job. :dizzy:
     
  30. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    SCTeach, I absolutely agree that those classes need to be revitalized.

    We still have a few, but it is nothing like what is was when I was in high school a little over ten years ago. Ag classes have been slashed, and home ec (or "family and consumer sciences", as it became called), wood shop, and mechanics are either down to a token class or eliminated entirely. When our new high school was constructed, they included a wing complete with four authentic home kitchens, a dining room, a sewing room, a great facility to learn how to care for children...it was awesome. Just after a decade or so of use, it's been removed. Gone! The wood shop was turned into offices. I could go on. It has been sad to see this happen and it's a disservice to many of our students.
     
  31. teach'ntx

    teach'ntx Comrade

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    Alice and Marci - I could not agree more, many students hit their stride at different parts of their lives.

    I wish the high schools could put the trade classes back in. I also wish as a nation we did not push college as much as extended education to include trade schools. I know many auto mechanics who can make over $100,000/yr with the right training and ability. Where I would never make a dime working on a car (have no mechanical ability), I have known kids who would make a killing as they have an unbelievable natural ability. However, since it has a bad rep, they are making just over minimum wage in retail with no real upward ability.....
     
  32. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    There are a lot of things I agree with in this thread, but I just think we should all remember that those "good old days" weren't perfect.

    Shop classes and home ec were sex-segregated where I grew up (in the 80s, not that long ago I hope). Girls were not allowed to enroll in shop and could not, therefore, have aspired to change their own tires or learn carpentry.

    Where I grew up, tracking served as a way to enforce racism, too. Black kids simply could not get in to the programs that were college preparatory. The schools integrated, but by creating tracking programs they ensured that only certain students could go to college.

    I love the idea that students should have more options. While we're adding back home ec and shop, let's reinforce languages, music and art. All those things have suffered under the testing regimen imposed in the last couple of decades. But if we talk about that, I think we need to be aware not only of the late bloomers but also of the ways those programs were abused in some places in the past.
     
  33. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    You make very valid points. Thankfully it wasn't my experience, as I was always in the ag wing. I'd like to hope that most schools no longer practice this outdated way of operating.
     
  34. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    JustMe, I hope so, too. Most of those programs are long gone, victims of cuts and the focus on testing. If they come back they need to be more focused on the idea of offering opportunity.
     
  35. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    In my area, these classes are highly desired by the students. The funny thing is that only students on the honor roll (at least a B average in all their classes) can even think about attending these classes. Students who are in AP classes or mostly honors classes cannot even begin to fit in these classes. The students who are barely passing high school or taking many remedial classes also cannot fit these classes into their day.

    We are lucky enough to have a community college nearby and our students leave school at the half-day mark to attend these courses at the college.
     
  36. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I used to work with a lot of European people at my summer job in college. They used to tell me about how little they paid for school (in Scotland, it's actually free), but of course as others have mentioned their taxes were up around 50%, which probably equals a lot more money than simply paying for school, especially if you're not someone who ends up going to college anyway. I think that kind of high taxation system is more unfair than the high prices we charge for getting an education. Now if we had a solution to reduce the costs without having everyone pay that kind of tax rate, I'm all ears!

    I find the "tracking" thing really interesting. I think many people don't even realize they do that, and that's why it really, really irks me when you hear people going on about how students in America are performing so much lower than everyone else, testing so much lower, etc. Well in those countries, they're only testing their "cream of the crop" students as the others have already gone to technical/career tracks. If we only tested our college prep classes, we'd have really good scores too! Not only do we test everyone in "non-college prep" classes, but we also even test students with disabilities in the same manner as everyone else, which would be unheard of in those countries. Comparing our results with theirs is apples and oranges. Anyway, I don't particularly like that tracking system that they have. I really, really struggled with math in school. However I worked my butt off, had a private tutor all throughout school, and manged to get Bs in the advanced math classes. If they had just tested me when I was younger and decided I couldn't take math anymore because I wasn't good enough at it, that seems horribly unfair.

    I also find it interesting because I see in my district (a district that tends to get national recognition for how "progressive" they are) they have totally gone away from tracking of any kind. I teach in elementary, so it's not as big of a deal but I simply don't understand how secondary schools function without it. I don't want to go as harsh as the European systems, but I think at some level it does make a better educational system as students get older. In my district, in high school they have English classes which kids who are still reading at an elementary level and kids who are advanced in the same class. Same for all subjects. I also wonder how it doesn't hurt them when they're trying to apply to college and have no "honors" "AP" or even "college prep" classes on their transcripts. Of course, AP classes for college credit aren't offered at all since that would be tracking.
     
  37. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    We have excellent career classes, offering our students the opportunity to get EMT certification, CNA certification, getting the first year of fire academy done, or gaining a number of other career certifications while also obtaining a high school diploma. The different programs require different grades and test scores. There is no shame in going to this program, and many honor students take these courses. Some of them are offered for honors credit.
     
  38. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Our high school students have a wide variety of optional credits that they can take--Family Studies, a wealth of technology courses, Health Care courses, trade specific, computer studies and programming--regardless of which "track" they are on (university, college, or work-place).
     
  39. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    When doing the math 50% of our salaries is a lot more than paying for college.

    There are ways to make college more affordable like for example taking classes at community colleges for the first 2 years and then transfering to a 4-year college. These days community colleges have partnerships with big colleges and universities where students can easily transfer their credits. By doing this a student can save thousands of dollars. Another way would be to choose a local university or college and live at home.
     
  40. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    It might be helpful to remember that the 50% number doesn't pay only for college.

    It pays for health care, college, public transportation, and a significantly better infrastructure than ours.

    So we pay maybe 30%, and get our system. They pay more - but not that much more, because they share the costs of things they think benefit everyone.

    I wouldn't want to pay so much. But I think it's more complex than just that you pay lots more and college is free.
     
  41. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    WOW! Great discussion! I, too, think it is unfair to track students as young as 4th grade. There are many kids with potential that need a little more baking in the oven... But, I also don't think that college should cost as much as it does. I understand that it is often not the fault of the institution of higher learning... It is the fault of an already faulty system. But MAYBE there is some kind of compromise in the middle of what we have and what they have to make college affordable for those that want it. Glad to hear that some schools still offer some forms of technical training. Every person could benefit from these classes!!!!! (Even me!)
     

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